Yes, I’ll admit it. Outside the hvacr arena, I am a sports addict.

My wife really doesn’t know how good she has it in that I do not insist on having ESPN. Then again, maybe it’s best. Otherwise, I may never get to the office or an association meeting. I’d be up all night watching — well, whatever that sports cable network has to offer.

Right now my wife cannot stand the fact that I’m glued to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. (Who woulda thunk Purdue, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and LSU would have been first-round survivors in the West Regional, each making the Sweet 16? It’s crazy.)

In truth, this article is being written before this past weekend’s second-round games tipped off. So, I am certain March Madness will continue until the bitter end April 3 in Indianapolis, IN.

Not sure, but chances are the 100-plus hvac people who participated in last week’s one and only Hvac 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament (also held in Indianapolis) did not predict the Final Four participants correctly, either. No one should feel bad, though. It’s been that kind of wild-and-crazy tourney.

And, well, regarding that “other” hoop contest, promoted by B&B Air, Inc., Indianapolis, that gathering of Michael Jordan wannabes was a slam dunk of an affair (without a lot of slam dunks).

Air Jordan was not here

Yes, that 3-on-3 hvac tourney (discussed in this same space March 6) was a swishing success. The morning after, however, is a different story. (Let’s just say there were a lot of tired, hurting “old men” in the hvac industry on Tuesday, March 21.)

More than 65 contractors were represented in the 4-hr marathon, held at St. Lawrence’s gym in central Indiana on March 20. Bob Fritsche, president of Real Mechanical, Carmel, IN, was the player-captain of the winning team with a combined three-man age of 132 years.

For the record, Real Mechanical defeated central Indiana developer Skinner Broad-Bent 9-7 in the championship game of the over-120 combined age division.

“We are mechanical contractors and enjoyed the event as it provided the opportunity to meet and compete with vendors, contractors, etc., within the hvac industry in a friendly yet competitive environment,” said a happy Fritsche. “The event was well run by B&B Air and enjoyed by all.”

Then again, aren’t the winners always happy?

Seriously, in addition to Fritsche (age 47), the Real Mechanical squad consisted of purchasing manager Mike Reeves (34) and project manager Ron Weeks (41). According to the opposition, Weeks is the one who killed them with his “great outside shooting.”

Host B&B’s trio consisted of salesperson Bill (Skyscraper) Bissmeyer (45), vice president Marty Stevens (42), and Bob Newton (61), head of Enertech, a subsidiary of B&B Air, and the oldest participant.

“I think it went over really well,” said Bissmeyer, noting there were 61 total teams entered in the 2000 showdown, compared to 35 last year. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Any time you can get people in this industry together and have fun outside of work, I think it’s all good.”

So were the 300-plus bratwursts that were consumed that evening, washed down with an “unknown amount of beer,” as one source put it.

The whippersnappers

Going full court to the younger turnout, Pat Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald & North Service Co., Indianapolis, was the proud coach of the winning “young man” open division.

Playing for Fitzgerald were his two sons, Andy (23) and Nick (20). Both are apprentices in Local 440. Making up the third leg of the three-man team was Doug Wyciskalla (25).

In the “hotly disputed” title tilt, Fitzgerald & North Services Co. dumped Modern Heating, Indianapolis, 10-6. (A union shop defeated a non-union shop. Hmm.)

“I don’t know where he came from,” said Don Williams of Modern Heating, referring to Wyciskalla. “I could tell he has been playing for some time. Our big man [6-4, 275-lb Kevin Kaplinger] is good, but he [Wyciskalla] was able to get around him.”

In addition to Kaplinger (28), a project manager at Modern Heating, the second-place team consisted of sales manager John Traub (34) and project manager Carl Kendrick (24).

In the long-distance category, Central Supply of Ft. Wayne, IN, traveled over 220 miles round trip just to have two teams in the contest. Then again, this isn’t unusual for basketball in Indiana. However, one team (Roger Mechanical) traveled 3 hrs from Columbus, OH, to participate with the “big boys.”

City officials promise the home of the Indy 500 will be prepared to take on another very important basketball tournament at the end of this week. Word in Indianapolis is that it has recuperated from the hvacr-style hoop happenin’.

Well, maybe the city has recovered. I’m not so sure all March 20 participants have.